“The future reshapes the memory of the past in the way it recalibrates significance: some episodes are advanced, others lose purchase.”
Brrr is the Cowardly Lion, taken from his mother as a cub to be shown at a university and studied to see if he is an animal or Animal. In Oz, Animals can talk and walk and reason, but they have faced persecution through the years. This persecution is what Elphaba, the Wicked Witch, tried to stop when she was a student at the university. She was actually in the class where Brrr was presented and came to his defense. A Lion Among Men tells how Brrr went from being the small lion cub to the Cowardly Lion who helped Dorothy to the current day where he is tracking down Elphaba’s magic book – the Grimmerie.
The Wicked Years books brings to life the characters well known and loved in the Wizard of Oz, but in a way true to L. Frank Baum’s original stories. A Lion Among Men is the third and final book in the series. I read the first book, Wicked, in 2010 and the second book, Son of a Witch, in 2014. I have seen the musical based on Wicked and really enjoyed it and have also read two of Maguire’s other books – Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and Lost. Maguire has a talent for taking beloved stories and fairy tales and taking them to a deeper level.
In A Lion Among Men, Brrr is interviewing an old Maunt who may have information about the Grimmerie – an old book of spells that was last seen in the possession of the Wicked Witch. The current Wizard of Oz wants it for his own and Brrr is hoping he can make up his past by securing information on the book. The Maunt first wants to know his story and why he is so personally interested in the book. A surprising loose string comes into the picture at the end and solves many mysteries for all the characters involved.
I enjoyed this book and I love anything to do with the Wizard of Oz. I have read some of the original books and Maguire’s books are based on those more than the movie – although there are some nods to the movie version:
“I have the distinct feeling I’m not in Oz anymore,’ said Brrr.”
Oz is a land of strange oddities and magic. The Wicked Years series is full of that as well, but if you’re looking for an adult level take on the movie and books, you will enjoy The Wicked Years series. I would recommend the books for adults due to the content.